Rabat – The Moroccan ambassador to South Africa, Youssef Amrani, addressed a gathering of intellectuals and diplomats in Pretoria, expressing his confidence in the continent’s future, on Thursday, August 29.
For 15 years, Morocco did not have an ambassador in South Africa. That changed this summer after South Africa agreed in March to accept Amrani’s credentials. South Africa and Morocco differ on the status of Western Sahara but have agreed to reinstate high-level diplomatic relations.
Amrani spoke at the University of Pretoria on Morocco’s Africa policy, according to state-run media agency Maghreb Arab Press (MAP). As two of the continent’s largest economies, Morocco and South Africa play central roles in its future.
The Moroccan ambassador to South Africa highlighted the importance of higher education and training as he spoke of King Mohammed VI’s priorities.
While Moroccans’ value of higher education is evident from the high percentage of Baccalaureate degree holders who enter university (75%), comparatively fewer pursue vocational training (25%). King Mohammed VI has been emphasizing the need to embrace vocational training as a viable alternative for the unemployed.
Amrani noted the emphasis Morocco is putting on Africa, evident in its political rhetoric and investment partnerships, especially since rejoining the African Union in 2017. “We are convinced that the current process of globalization can not continue without a developed, prosperous and self-sufficient Africa,” he said, according to MAP.
To attain self-sufficiency, Amrani said, Africa needs peace and security and to promote its youth. Africa’s multiple conflicts and a median age of just 19 years make the call no small challenge.
However, the landmark African Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) that went into effect in May could be a boost to the continent’s economy and the aspirations of its young people.
Ambassador Amrani noted that active South-South cooperation and accelerating regional integration will be pillars of African development. By uniting 54 countries in a $3.4 trillion trading zone, the CFTA will go a long way towards continental integration.
As regional leaders on the northern and southern edges of the continent, Morocco and South Africa are key to successful continental integration.